It’s the little moments that hit me the most. It’s something so small that stops me in my tracks, makes me take a deep breath in and suddenly floods me with memories of years gone by just like that. I know for some parents the big milestones are the things that take their breath away, things like their child’s first word, first steps, first tooth, and first year of school. For me it’s different. I never know when a small moment is going to sneak up on me and throw me off balance for a bit. I recognize it the moment it does though. It floods me with all too familiar emotions all at once and suddenly I realize time has moved without me realizing it and life has changed.
As parents we want our children to grow and to change because it’s the biggest sign that we are doing our job right. We spend our days in the daily chaos of meals, sports, school, homework and all around crazy schedules that it’s easy to miss what is happening right in front of us. Our children are figuring out their way in the world and while we would like to hold their hands the entire journey there will be times when they may not want us to and that’s okay.
My oldest son is finishing up his last two days of kindergarten. I’ve seen the obvious changes. He’s gotten so much taller. He’s become much more confident. He’s become a great reader. He’s interested in new things like sharks and crocodiles. He no longer likes to watch shows like Curious George because he would much rather watch shows like River Monsters. He’s changed and I’ve loved watching him grow this year.
Today I headed to school to pick him and one of his friend’s up at the end of the day. As we walked home together I asked them both how their day was and they both replied, “It was good.” I allowed them to walk a little bit in front of me so they could feel some freedom from me and my 3yo, but I decided to listen and observe the two of them. They giggled and talked about different things they were discovering along our walk. “Look there’s a butterfly!” one of them shouted. “I can’t wait to see the school buses pass us.” the other one replied. Suddenly it happened. I watched my little boy walking hand in hand with a little girl from his class and I realized a shift has happened. Don’t get me wrong my little boy will still hold my hand and trust me I will be holding onto his for as long as he’ll let me, but it was the first time that my little boy walked in front of me hand in hand with someone else without a worry in the world of how far I trailed behind.
I took a deep breath as memories of him as a baby rushed over me. I was brought back to a time when it was just a boy and his mom spending the day making new discoveries of butterflies and birds and filling our space with giggles and cuddles. A very wise friend once said to me, parenthood is hard but if you blink you will miss it.
I decided today on that walk home that I would put the image of my little boy reaching out to hold a little girl’s hand in my memory book and keep it there for as long as I can. I have a feeling one day it will be one of the memories that comes rushing back to me and makes me realize time has yet again moved on and things have changed.
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